Split travel guide
Croatia's second city and at its heart the incredible Diocletian's Palace, an eclectic mix of Roman and renaissance architecture.
Split, the main port for travel to the Adriatic islands, is also home to the Diocletian's Palace, built by the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the end of the third century AD. The Palace forms the core of the old town and has been adapted and remodelled throughout the ages so that it displays a breath-taking mix of architecture from the Roman through to the later Venetian period. The seafront is lined with cafes where you can enjoy a cappuccino or a cool drink while watching yachst and ships come and go in the harbour. And what is so extraodinary is that your café will be a part of an ancient Roman Palace (now a UNESCO world heritage site) built nearly 2000 years ago. The city of Split grew in the miidle ages from the ruins of this Roman palace and today a thriving city survives within that Roman and rennaisance fabric The streets within the walls of the palace are crammed with cafes, art galleries, antique shops and restaurants, Beyond that stretches modern day Split with great theatres, music venues, more restaurants and nightclubs.
Split is a vibrant town with citizens which adore it above all other places. It is a great town for everyday life, and all visitors benefit from that fact. They will find excellent shops, fish, meat, fruit and vegetable markets, best ice creams and cafes, interspersed with museums, galleries, great walks and parks, and beaches all over the town. The main town beach of Bacvice is full of young people playing volleyball and practising on nearby tennis courts, where famous Croatian tennis players like Goran Ivanisovic learned their craft as youngsters.
The Scottish architect, Robert Adam travelled to Split in 1757 to study Diocletian’s Palace and kept meticulous records of what he observed. On returning home he spent seven years producing one of the most beautiful books of the eighteenth century: Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia. What Robert Adam experienced in Split also inspired his own architectural projects in England and Scotland influencing the Adam style that is easily recognized in much of London's architecture.
Louise Reddon writing in The Daily Telegraph captured the atmosphere of Split perfectly:
"When Emperor Diocletian was considering retirement from governing the Roman Empire, he shopped around, found no decent rest homes and decided to build his own. And so Split was born. This magnificent walled city palace was built to Diocletian's exacting standards, and today retains enough original charms to attract visitors by the thousands. Amid the remnants of his grand residences, there is a pleasingly workaday town. Pavement cafes, cosy bars and plenty of shops mix with two lively markets and chic apartments built from the very barracks where Diocletian's soldiers once lived. Visit this 1700-year-old living museum during Split‘s Summer Festival in which cultural events are often staged in the open air. Drinking cocktails with the posing parade along the ritzy palm-lined ‘Riva‘ promenade. Afterwards, head to house-music haunt, Caffe Bar Fluid, and sit outside on steps that lead to the little-known second tier of the palace. Bacvice beach, a 15-minute stroll east, has buzzy nightclubs."